Importance of Front-Line Leaders
There is a yearly staff meeting. The CEO starts the speech with the importance of occupational health and safety, mental health protection and working together as one team. The HR Director continues, talking about diversity and inclusiveness, and then the Safety Director speaks about the improved OHS policy and risk assessment for all categories of workers. In an hour the meeting is over. Everybody gets back to work. And the “real life” immediately kicks in. “What is taking you so long?” “We don’t have the correct spanner, sir, and the procedure says…” “Screw the procedure. Just take the adjustable spanner, and do it quickly, we have twenty more jobs ahead for today! That stupid meeting has already cost us an hour!” “Excuse me, ma’am, I don’t feel safe going alone to this neighbourhood. Can I order a company car?” “Oh, come on, don’t be such a cry-baby. Nothing will happen! I don’t have time to approve your car request with my boss today”. “My daughter is sick, sir, can I please leave one hour early today? I will make sure the work is finished”. “Oh, I knew I should not have hired a woman! My mistake! Take your hour if you need it so badly”. How do you know that those conversations do not take place in your company, while you are writing your policy statements? Do you invest enough in education, coaching, mentoring and support of front-line leaders? Because you should. Front-line leaders will create a culture of safety, inclusiveness and mental health if you support them. Or they can undo all your speeches and policies by one phrase. What do you do to support your front-line leaders?